“I’m wearing real clothes today! I yell at my roommate.
For the first time this week, I’m trading my dingy leggings for jeans and my dirty sneakers for boots. I really feel stylish. Coincidentally, today is the day UMichFits can be found on the Diag. I imagine him prowling around looking for an eye-catching student to increase his notoriety on Instagram. “I’m going to get spotted!” ” I laugh.
However, for the man behind UMichFits’ Instagram, sophomore kinesiology student Jacob Melamed, it’s not that deep (and he probably won’t spot me in my plain blue jeans and Doc Martens).
UMichFits is an urban style photography account that captures student fashion on University Diag. Since the account’s launch on August 31, Melamed has racked up over two thousand followers, campus recognition and satire on the accounts even. UMichAffirmations and UMich matches what you missed.
Melamed runs on the Diag a few hours a day, two to three days a week as a hobby. As he sat on a Diag bench for an interview with The Daily, he told me that when other people are excited about his work, it always surprises him and gives him a “warm and fuzzy feeling.”
Melamed is trendy without trying to be trendy. He’s wearing a glass earring, a baseball cap (which he tells me will help me spot him for our interview), a white t-shirt and tops that I’m sure sneaker fans would kill. His attitude is relaxed and friendly. It was his extroversion that first pushed him to create the account.
“I thought some people dressed really well and I was a bit bored and didn’t have a lot of friends here yet,” Melamed said. “I was like, ‘Hey, you might as well go out and do something fun, maybe make friends with them.'”
Looking at the Diag, he said the words I meant from day one of class: “I wish I could sit here all day and just watch people.
What sets him apart from your average Diag-skulker is his initiative, his street photography skills, and his courage to say, “Hey, I like your outfit, would you mind if I took one? Photo ? ”
When he meets models, many instantly recognize his account, and some say they were waiting for him to notice them.
After more than a month of filming on the Diag, Melamed has no plans to film anywhere else. However, his story is not monotonous. He is looking for “extraordinary”, “avant-garde” outfits and, mainly, outfits that “suit (the wearer) very well”. These guidelines allow him to spot a few lucky subjects among the thousands who surround the Block M everyday. Each post celebrates the individuality of the university students captured in a single candid moment.
“I want the photo to be about the person. I want a little glimpse of who they are, ”Melamed said. “The way they pose says a lot about that (individuality). And the way they dress, ”he said.
He mimics some model subjects, sticking his hip out and putting his hand behind his head, but notes that other subjects take their time and seek pose advice.
University students have always used their peers as a trusted source for learning about trends: from student-led music journalism and first fashion magazines for teenagers aware “What are you listening to?”TikTokers interviewing college students wearing headphones and Campus-street fashion Instagrams like that of Melamed.
“It certainly wasn’t an original idea on my part,” Melamed said, citing inspiration from accounts like USCFits.
Original or not, at a school the size of the University of Michigan, the variety of outfits and personalities make this account stand out. Thousands of people walk through the Diag every day, each wearing a distinct outfit reflecting their individuality.
Scrolling through UMichFits is like watching virtual people. There are the skateboarder boys (dressed scantily like Jacob) turning the camera like rockstars, casual tote bag carriers laughing on Hatcher’s steps, people glistening in the sun with hair dye from all the colors and girls walking on a dark rainy diag in monochrome black. Each article contains various slides and endless stories.
Jacob, who calls himself “just a guy with a camera,” admits some pressure comes with the growing popularity of the account, which he calls a “fashion inspiration board.” He worries that the Diag scene will become boring for his followers and tries to keep it interesting.
He looks for models with friends to avoid choosing people with his similar “trendy without trying” look (my words, not his). He changes angles and perspectives in his seemingly effortless shoots, using the library steps, railings and concrete benches to people-watch as props in impromptu fashion shoots.
We love UMichFits because it allows us to watch an attractive, interesting or cool peer for longer than a moment passing on the busiest street on campus. We can try to research where they got their shirt using just a vague description or dig into the account comments to find their name and do a quick search. We can take the time to make up a story about who they are and where they are going.
Jacob appreciates and celebrates the average UM student, yet through his work followers find that UM students are anything but average. UMichFits provides followers not only with fashion inspiration, but a new appreciation for our peers and the university we call home.
Daily art writer Kaya Ginsky can be reached at email@example.com.